Kentucky has adopted the Uniform Child Support Act. This is a published series of guidelines meant to establish a foundation for calculations. It’s extremely useful in determining child support levels.
It’s important to note that the two parties can reach an agreement, outside of the guidelines. This agreement can often alleviate one of the most contentious areas of a divorce proceeding.
In determining the appropriate level of monthly payments, the calculation is based on the gross income of the two parties. There are allowances for multiple children and other factors. These allowances are called “deviations.” The court has discretion in determining these deviations. The level of child support can also be modified through a post-decree modification.
Child support is not meant to be spousal maintenance. That is a different factor which is handled separately. Child support payments are generally understood to be to help offset expenses related to raising the minor children. These expenses can include health care expenses, school-related expenses, food and clothing.
From a tax standpoint, child support payments are not considered taxable income. These payments are also not deductible for the parent making the payments. However, there are allowances for one of the parents to claim the child or children as dependents, for tax purposes.
In most cases, child support is established for the care of minor children. In Kentucky child support can be terminated when the child reaches the age of 18. However, if the child is still in high school, it will terminate at the end of the academic year after the child turns 18. Child support will terminate when the child turns 19, regardless.
There are special circumstances including if the child is disabled, joins the armed forces, gets married, receives emancipation or upon the death of a minor.
Because of the complexities involved in determining child support, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney. Child support obligations are enforceable and failure to pay it can result in garnishments and even jail time.